Is COVID Lockdown influencing Chennai Weather?

Weather Update

The last few days have seen places like Chennai remain very pleasant during the early mornings and day time remaining balmy. Many people who follow weather closely have started to wonder if the Forced Lockdown of the country on account of COVID could play any role in modulating weather particularly from the perspective of influencing Urban Heat Island effect due to reduced vehicle traffic and pollution associated with Commercial Operations.

One of the earlier studies which we did at COMK a couple of weeks back indicated the winters are getting warmer at Chennai so it may not present an accurate picture of whether COVID lockdown is influencing weather pattern. So we decided to look at Max temperatures working on identifying possible inferences through the following parameters using Chennai AP IMD temperature data.

  • Daily Max Temperatures for the past decade during 2nd fortnight of March
  • Average Max Temperatures for the 2nd fortnight of March during the last 10 years
  • The highest & lowest max temperatures recorded during the respective years to understand the range

On the outset it appears there might be a case for possible influence by COVID lockdown because of the temperature pattern for the past few days when one compares to past years. The 2nd fortnight of March this year has seen the lowest average max temperature at Chennai AP compared to the past decade with just 34.2 deg. The highest for this year once is just 35.2 degrees lower than any year in the past decade. At 35.2 2020 is the only year where the temperature has not touched 36 at Chennai AP during the 2nd fortnight.

But look little more we can find 2020 may not be alone in seeing such temperatures. Especially years like 2014, 2016 which saw Chennai AP touch 39 degrees by late March. But many years have seen similar conditions as the current year indicating 2020 could not be an aberration. As things stand its inconclusive if we can actually link the COVID Lockdown to the balmy weather conditions Chennai is seeing. The upcoming fortnight in April could give a clearer idea.